Nursing home overcharged residents for hair and chiropody services, Hiqa finds

‘I’m wasting my life here, waiting, I wait for everything,’ says resident at short staffed nursing home

The operator of a Co Offaly nursing home charged residents extra for hairdressing and chiropody services without telling them, according to an inspection report by the State’s health watchdog.

Ferbane Care Centre applied an additional charge to certain services received by residents, the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) states.

Chiropody services were invoiced to the centre at €25 per treatment, but the residents were charged €30 by the care home operator.

“This system also applied to hairdresser services. Residents, and their representatives, were not made aware of this increased service charge,” Hiqa said.


Asked by Hiqa how it planned to come into compliance on the issue, the nursing home operator said “additional individual costs of services” would be charged “as per invoice”.

Inspectors found the atmosphere in the centre was welcoming, calm and relaxed and reported residents saying that services had improved since a previous inspection. However, the report said operators had failed to report an incident of suspected abuse of a resident, and that staff were not appropriately trained to deliver safe care to residents.

Meanwhile, an inspection of a Co Galway nursing home found a single nurse was on duty to deliver care to 42 residents. People living at Carna Nursing and Retirement Home said they had to wait extended times to have breakfast, to attend the day-room or have their call-bell answered.

‘’I’m wasting my life here, waiting, I wait for everything,” one resident told inspectors.

Residents were observed spending extended periods of time in bed waiting to be assisted to get up for the day. One said they liked to be up early, at around 7am or 8am, but it was usually after 10am when they did.

Residents said they were tired of Covid-19 restrictions and wanted to return to “pre-pandemic ways”. Inspectors said unnecessary visiting restrictions were in place and that this had a negative impact on the residents’ quality of life.

Over the two days of unannounced inspection, there were no activities scheduled and no one assigned to activities because of staff shortages.

Inspectors also found the home had failed to submit a notification of an injury that required medical treatment, and two incidents of alleged abuse.

In another report, Ramelton Community Hospital in Co Donegal was found not to have investigated an incident related to an allegation of abuse. Inspectors found the centre was in a “poor state of repair and decoration” and was “visibly dirty” in a number of areas.

“Overall, the atmosphere of the centre was dull and lacked colour and interest,” inspectors said.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times